PHOTO: Amy and Jay had a beautiful wedding at Tirtha Luhur in Bali, Indonesia. Read all about their celebrations as well as their inspiring relationship story, here.
If there’s an “ideal” number of years couple have to be together for their marriage to last, we’re not sure what it is. The question has been asked often and across the generations, as everybody wants to know what the magic number is. Whether it’s seven years, or three being the new seven, there is no hard and fast rule, unfortunately. Like the number of years in a marriage for it to be considered long, there is no “ideal” number.
Instead, you should be considering other things such as being able to truly understand one another, and being ready to bring your lives even closer together, instead of worrying about the length of your relationship. Here are our tips:
Understand your spouse better
In any relationship, spending quality time together is very important. The time you spend together will help you appreciate your partner’s psyche better and can help you iron out sticky situations to set a good foundation of marriage.
Communication is key
But before you tie your man down to a chair and begin interrogating him about his life details from the moment he was born, remember that it doesn’t have to be trying or tedious. Quality time can be spent on simple things like sharing a meal, or even picking up a new skill together.
The basis of any satisfying and happy relationship is understanding and being comfortable around the other person. There are several things that you will have to address before you determine for yourself if you’re bound for a lasting marriage. Have you been open to sharing details with each other intimately and in great depth.
Consider attending marital counselling/therapy
This doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with your relationship, but an experienced marriage counsellor will be able to facilitate a discussion on important things both of you might not even have considered.
When you think about having a lasting marriage with your partner, you’re not just thinking about spending every day together, but also how two people can merge to live a shared life together. For instance, how do you evaluate your relationship with your partner’s parents? Do your lifestyles complement each other? Are there habits that you really can’t tolerate? There are so many things to think about, like have you both been comfortable with how the two of you spend time with your friends and own families after marriage?
Finances are just as important – will decisions be made together or will one of you be trusted to keep the money in check? How about your sexual needs or career progression? Your communication styles will be challenged but finding the answers to these questions and more will open your eyes as to whether you two truly understand what you can expect from each other in the marriage.
Stability represents a commitment to adapt to a shared life. It is also what will make things work in the face of unexpected changes emotionally, psychologically or financially; it is a commitment to each other that you will come together as a couple to face challenges and issues to build a lasting marriage. Marriage will throw curveballs at you and your man, so creating a solid foundation and anchoring your partnership, especially in the beginning, is important, when you can expect to face challenges (both big and small) in future.
The notion of feeling secure in a relationship is entirely rooted in being completely honest with each other. Secrets can only stack up and work against the trust the both of you have worked hard to build. Being transparent about your feelings and opinions will go a long way in creating a sense of freedom that both of you can share anything with each other without the fear of repercussions. In the same vein, hiding the way you feel when you’re upset with something your spouse has done can only build up a plethora of negative emotions that will threaten to spill over in the future.
Now, we’ve discussed the importance of stability and expecting changes so the idea of predictability may be slightly confusing. Predictability comes from the technical and relatively more practical things in any married life. These include things that require finances and mutual agreement over certain decisions such as wedding venue, budget, housing locations or time spent with each other’s parents. Commitment to carrying through promises is very important to any relationship at any stage. Always consider the feelings and expectations of your other half when you make decisions. In other words, don’t make promises you cannot keep. If something bothers you, it is best to discuss it with your man to avoid mutual disappointment. Let him know when you cannot keep a promise within reason.
At the end of the day, there are no magic numbers that determine a happy and lasting marriage, but you should keep in mind these key elements of building up a solid relationship that will tide through the challenges of married life. Remember that every relationship has different needs to make it work, so it’s up to you and your partner to put in every effort to keep it going.
Cindy Leong is the Dating and Relationship Coach, and Wedding Planner of Relationship Studio. She conducts personal appointments, as well as workshops for couples. For more information on her work, you can go to www.relationshipstudio.sg, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deon Chan is the Director of Love Express, a premier dating agency which helps singles meet their ideal partners through personalised dating services. For more information, you can go to www.loveexpress.com.sg.